Yesterday, David Henderson, a libertarian economist associated with Hoover and econlib, had a post at econlib suggesting that Trump has been unfairly accused of fomenting violence. I was going to stick a link to Henderson’s piece in the comments to my earlier post on the libertarian reaction to storming of the Capitol. But when I looked this morning, the post was gone. I believe this has happened before with Henderson (I am almost certain this has happened at econlib, I am not sure the author was Henderson, but I believe it was him).
In any event, the now missing post was captured by my blog reader, and I thought I’d share Henderson’s disingenuous, obtuse, narrow, decontextualized, and legalistic defense of Donald Trump here for the record. Libertarianism is not an abstract set of ideas that exists outside of partisan politics; libertarians are the intellectual front for the plutocratic wing of the Republican party, and they know who their coalition partners are. They don’t care.
“Today’s violent assault on our Capitol, an effort to subjugate American democracy by mob rule, was fomented by Mr. Trump,” Mattis wrote. “His use of the Presidency to destroy trust in our election and to poison our respect for fellow citizens has been enabled by pseudo political leaders whose names will live in infamy as profiles in cowardice.”
This is from Lara Seligman, “Mattis blames Trump for inciting ‘mob rule’“, Politico, January 6, 2020.
I was playing pickleball Wednesday morning Pacific time and so I didn’t see Trump’s speech. I think I had my priorities right.
As a result, I made a mistake I make too often: I took people’s word for what Trump said.
I wonder if my Hoover colleague Jim Mattis did too.
What I’ve always liked about Ann Althouse, an emerita professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, is that she’s independent: she thinks for herself.
Professor Althouse read the whole transcript, looking for where Trump incited the crowd. She listed the 7 most violence-inciting statements in Trump’s speech. Check the list of 7 and see if you can see “incitement” or “fomenting.” Or possibly she missed something. So go to the transcript and see if you can see something important she missed.